Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
IF YOU CAN’T DUCK IT,
STIR FRY IT
I LOVE Vietnamese food. I also love QUICK Vietnamese food 😀
Using quite a bit of Asian pantry staples, this dish is easy to prepare and cook. Its layered flavor, minimal cooking time and easy to find ingredients enable us to make it on a weeknight. This recipe is adapted from Charles Phan’s Vietnamese Home Cooking cookbook.
Before I owned his cookbooks, I often worked with lemongrass just by cutting it into large pieces and smashing them to release its aroma; or to smash & tie in to a knot. However, if you finely chop lemongrass by hand, (instead of with a food processor), it will result in an incredible flavor explosion in your mouth! For this new technique, and of course for the recipe, “Mr. Phan, thank you!”
This stir fry lets the fish sauce lively mingle with the onions, garlic and lemongrass. The outcome is quite lovely: savory, spicy, and pungent with subtle sweetness – and not to mention healthy. Slice your chicken breasts thinly to save some cooking time. You can also add a tablespoon of minced ginger if you have it handy. Spritz some lime juice before you serve it on a bed of rice to seal the deal.
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons chicken stock or water
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- ¼ cup finely minced lemongrass
- 1 red fresno chile pepper, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons rice wine (sake)
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek
- 2 scallions, trimmed and sliced
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
- Whisk together fish sauce, stock, and sugar in a small bowl, until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat your frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil.
- Add the chicken and cook, until lightly browned on both sides.
- Pour off most of the oil from the pan (and still leave the chicken in the pan.) Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add and carmalize the onion.
- Add the garlic, lemongrass, and fresno pepper and cook for 30 seconds longer. Deglaze the pan with sake.
- Pour in the fish sauce mixture, sambal, and scallions to the pan and continue cooking until the scallions have softened slightly and the chicken is cooked through. Add the lime juice and quickly stir.
- Garnish with the peanuts. Serve with rice.